Orange and Barclaycard have finally launched their combined NFC mobile payments service in the UK, as reported on Pocket-lint back in January.

It's the first of its kind in the UK, and sees the country catch up with others around the world by offering users the ability to pay for items in high street shops using their mobile phones. Called "Quick Tap", the system currently restricts customers to purchases of £15 and under, but with contactless readers now installed in over 50,000 stores nationwide, including cafés such as Pret A Manger, Eat and Subway, it should be easy enough to use.

There's just one drawback; the service can only be used with a dedicated Quick Tap-enabled handset, and Orange is launching just the one at the moment - the Samsung Tocco Lite, which will be available on PAYG and pay monthly price plans.

Orange is promising a range of alternative handsets to follow imminently, but those eager to jump onboard smartish will have to make do.

Payments are made through an on-screen app which must be preloaded with funds of up to £100, and contains information such as electronic statements detailing Quick Tap purchases so customers can keep an eye on their finances and spending. Plus, to support the launch, Barclaycard is providing Orange customers with £10 cash added to their account upon activation, and 10% cash back on all Quick Tap purchases made in the first three months.

For those worrying about security, Orange and Barclaycard have both been thoroughly testing the system: "Mobile Contactless Payments from Orange and Barclaycard have been developed and rigorously tested to ensure customers’ transactions and personal data will be protected and secure, with users having the option to enter a PIN on their handset before each transaction providing an additional layer of security," they say in a joint statement. "The launch proposition will use a secure SIM-based approach to mobile payments,  providing a single point of contact for customer care as well as ensuring enhanced payment security for customers."

In addition, Quick Tap transactions are covered by the same 100% fraud guarantee as standard Barclays and Barclaycard transactions nationwide. And as the payments are processed online, if a phone is reported lost or stolen, those transactions will not be completed.

Would you use your mobile phone to pay for stuff? Let us know in the comments below...